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Mark Stoops’ future at UK falls on Saturday vs. Vanderbilt


It seems we’ve said it over and over again for nearly every game this season (we have), but Kentucky’s game against Vanderbilt on Saturday could make or break Mark Stoops’ coaching career in Lexington.

Let me preface by saying I support Coach Stoops, and I genuinely want him to succeed at UK. I think he has done some unbelievable things for the University of Kentucky, reenergizing a hungry fan base, bringing in recruits that would have never sniffed UK without he and his coaching staff’s recruiting presence, and a demand for much-needed funding for the football program to compete with the other SEC powerhouses. Stadium renovations, state of the art practice facility, and elite recruits, three incredible steps forward to help put UK football back on the map.

But the wins still aren’t there, and the Big Blue Nation is growing restless.

“This is year four, no more excuses,” tends to be a common phrase throughout the bluegrass as of late. Stoops has nearly an entire roster full of only his recruits, so the “Joker’s leftovers” narrative doesn’t work anymore. An embarrassing second half meltdown against SMU, not showing up against Florida, and a first half mess against New Mexico State forced the optimists to lose faith and the pessimists to throw the “I told you so” card.

There were rumblings that a loss against South Carolina meant Stoops was out at Kentucky, an entirely separate situation from the “other” rumors we won’t touch with a ten-foot pole. How much truth was there to those talks? I have no idea, and luckily we won’t have to find out. That being said, I think the leash around Stoops’ neck is fairly short in the eyes of Mitch Barnhart, and some major problems could arise should a bowl not happen this year.

If UK beats Vanderbilt on Saturday, those dreams of a bowl bid are still very much alive, and Stoops has a great deal of pressure lifted off his shoulders.

I mentioned a few weeks ago that the wheels were shaking, but weren’t falling off yet, and I believe this still holds true. UK managed to pull off an ugly win against NMSU, got the job done against South Carolina, and showed some good things against Alabama, which is certainly a good sign of much-needed progress being made by both coaches and players.

Since Mark Stoops has taken over on the defensive side of the ball, that unit has actually been fairly impressive, giving up just 8.8 points per half over the past five halves of play. On offense, we’ve seen the emergence of Benny Snell, Boom Williams’ continued success, potential in Stephen Johnson as a game manager, and receivers with ability to actually catch the ball.

There are three consecutive “winnable” games coming up against Vandy, Mississippi State, and Missouri, with a fourth against Austin Peay a few weeks after. There are your six. There is your bowl game, with a 4-4 record in the SEC, nonetheless.

Stoops goes to a bowl, I believe his job is safe, and fans are happy.

Optimism is there for the remainder of the season, but it either builds or comes to a screeching halt against Vandy on Saturday.

If UK manages to lose, the road to a bowl game becomes extremely difficult, as they’d have to find wins against Mississippi State, Missouri, Georgia, and Austin Peay to participate in postseason action. Tennessee and Louisville also remain on the schedule, but victories against either of those two teams are a long shot, to say the least.

Every “winnable” game is a must-win for Stoops at this point in the season, there’s no other way to put it. He has no leeway to slip up in a game, as he lost his “get out of jail free” card against Southern Miss.

Kentucky loses against Vanderbilt, and those wheels very well may come off. If the Wildcats win, momentum builds, and those wheels tighten up ever so slightly.

“Must-win” has never been more true for Mark Stoops than this weekend against the Commodores.



Article written by Jack Pilgrim

Follow me on Twitter: @JackPilgrimKSR

51 Comments for Mark Stoops’ future at UK falls on Saturday vs. Vanderbilt

  1. Hakmer
    7:02 pm October 4, 2016 Permalink

    Everyone wants stoops fired it seems…the guy was handed an empty shelf, it’s his first head coach gig. At least another year to get wins is needed. His first year he was short on recruiting time. He has not been able to settle in with an offensive coordinator. He is in tough year of a schedule. He should have another year to shift the wins and losses. We will not find a coach who wants to make it work as much as he does. Regardless of the outcome I like stoops and will root for him to succeed, wherever that is.

    • cats paw
      8:14 pm October 4, 2016 Permalink

      and why exactly do you like Stoops? have you ever had dinner with him or went fishing together? have you ever went to a practice and listened to this great man curse at 19 yr old kids? has he won half his games? should a first time coach be the 13th highest paid in college football? what signs do you see that he is better than Joker

    • cats paw
      8:27 pm October 4, 2016 Permalink

      a good roll model is petrino look at all the good things he has done and is doing?

    • Jack Pilgrim
      8:34 pm October 4, 2016 Permalink

      I’m a huge Stoops fan and believe he deserves another year. That being said, a good portion of the fanbase has been quick to turn on Stoops following bad losses, and I wouldn’t be surprised if those fans pressured Barnhart to fire him if UK doesn’t get to a bowl. That was the whole point of the article, that’s why I prefaced by saying I support Stoops and want him to succeed.

    • Chesters Daddy
      8:56 pm October 4, 2016 Permalink

      Jack pilgrim as long as stoops is here we will be the bottom of the barrel in SEC, and third worst team in Kentucky he is not a coach I promise by end of year you all will be ready to get him out of here. Let’s not make the next coach start behind 8 ball because we kept this joker too long. Thanks for the article.

    • Billy Hill
      9:09 am October 5, 2016 Permalink

      It doesn’t matter who is coaching, Kentucky will be in the bottom 1/3 of the SEC.

  2. dcoltsfan20
    7:12 pm October 4, 2016 Permalink

    I just want to say…. I see all these posts about stoops losing and hes done and its crap. The truth of the matter is Rich Brooks was worse in the same amount of time, coming off a bowl game no less…. I am a die hard UK fan in ALL sports. The problem with our fan base is that we are so accustomed to success in basketball that we are not patient enough to allow our football program a rebuilding period. Think about it, we have never been great at football so why is it feasible to think that our team should be dominate after a good hire? If a coach (unproven like stoops) gets hired why is 4 years his limit? We have the least amount of seniors in the FBS. Our team of “stoops players” are juniors and sophmores and were supposed to win in the toughest league in the world? Basketball can be a quick turnaround but you dont see Alabama firing coaches after two years…why? because they never have been “great” in the sport. Why are we too privilaged to allow Stoops his best and most experienced players (not oldest) to reach junior senior level before we make any rash decisions? Relax people, I know we are dying to be the best at everything NOW. to build a strong football team at a “basketball school” you need 5 or 6 years especially when you come into a 2 win team. And if alabama and auburn and all these football schools can allow for coaches to stick around longer than 4 years in a sport than allows for quicker success than football why cant we let stoops make his mark here? Im done venting STOOPS TROOPS!

    • Reese Davis
      7:56 pm October 4, 2016 Permalink

      Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Texas A anm, etc. Have coaches on the hot seat after two bad seasons. They do the exact opposite of letting coaches stick around if they fail in any way whatsoever.

    • cats paw
      8:17 pm October 4, 2016 Permalink

      the truth of the matter is that Rich Brooks is only considered remotely successful because you’re comparing him to joker and the other recent losing coaches at UK. try comparing Stoops to Petrino and give us your results

    • cats paw
      8:31 pm October 4, 2016 Permalink

      I like my own comments

    • Theymademesignup
      3:04 am October 5, 2016 Permalink

      Fun fact for people that obviously don’t know how to google. Rich Brooks went 8-5 in his 4th year at UK. Stoops is in his fourth year we won’t see a bowl game. Hell we won’t have more than 4 wins this year. We all know if Rich Brooks failed that 4th year he was going to be fired. He didn’t have a huge buyout. In this day and age coaches rarely get 4 years to build a program. He is in year 4 and if he doesn’t get it done he has to go, or else we at least admit we will keep him 1 more year based on the buyout alone. But if he stays the 5th year I don’t wanna hear any 6-6 baby steps shit.

  3. Chesters Daddy
    7:29 pm October 4, 2016 Permalink

    Lol Alabama and other schools are winning every other sec school he woulda been gone they fire people with 0.600 0.700 winning percentages. We are the laughing stock of the sec. Teams look at us and go ahead and chalk it as a win. I understand we just played Alabama but to act like we run the ball really well and had 72 rushing yards is a joke. We have come to judging our success on whether or not we can score against Alabama. As long as mark STOOPS is at UK we will always be 3rd worst team in Kentucky. 4 years of not making a bowl and losing games the way he has and your saying one more YEAR lmao that’s why we are the laughing stock every other schools expect more.

  4. Reese Davis
    7:53 pm October 4, 2016 Permalink

    This is college football Stoops. Get the job done or get out that’s how it works. You haven’t gotten the job done in four years, not mention we suck in your fourth year.

  5. ukkatzfan
    8:06 pm October 4, 2016 Permalink

    With that article, I say Jack Pilgrim should be fired. #PilgrimCantWrite #FirePilgrim #PilgrimIsAClosetCardinalFan #MattJonesShouldHireWritersInsteadOfHaters

    • Jack Pilgrim
      8:26 pm October 4, 2016 Permalink

      Caught me red-handed!

    • ukkatzfan
      10:42 pm October 4, 2016 Permalink

      Since I got your attention. Your headline “Mark Stoops’ future at UK falls on Saturday vs. Vanderbilt”. The first line of your article “It seems we’ve said it over and over again for nearly every game this season (we have), but Kentucky’s game against Vanderbilt on Saturday could make or break Mark Stoops’ coaching career in Lexington.” Headline is a definite, first line makes it questionable. There are 3 rules to writing. 1) tell them what you are going to tell them. 2) Tell them. 3) Tell them what you told them. #IWantStoopsToHaveALifetimeContractWithAMutualBillionDollarBuyout #AnyOneAntiStoopsIsAntiMeAntiUKAntiAmericanAndProbablyHasClownMakeup

    • ukkatzfan
      10:43 pm October 4, 2016 Permalink

      (continued) Makeup

  6. notmattjones
    8:18 pm October 4, 2016 Permalink

    How many ‘most important games of Stoops’ career’ has he had at UK? A lot of that is KSR driven, I get it but c’mon… just two weeks ago, South Carolina, ‘most important game for Stoops at UK,’ enough of this shit.

  7. cats paw
    8:20 pm October 4, 2016 Permalink

    forget a bowl game!!! Stoops should be fired for his past performance alone. we didnt pay him 3.5 million to learn how to be a coach in 4-5 yrs!! id argue that joker would have made a bowl once every 5 yrs or so

    • dcoltsfan20
      9:52 pm October 5, 2016 Permalink

      LMAO “we didnt pay him to learn how to be a coach” First you didnt pay shit barnhart did, second hes never been a head coach, let alone SEC head coach… AT KENTUCKY it was supposed to be a smooth transition thats why he came HERE! so yes we did give him a chance to learn to be a HEAD COACH…

  8. cats paw
    8:26 pm October 4, 2016 Permalink

    And yes petrino did lose to clemson though but the umpires stole it from Louisville

  9. east-ky-boy
    8:30 pm October 4, 2016 Permalink

    Dear lord! Every time I read a post from CATS PAW I get ticked lol. Dude get a life man! Name me one coach at Kentucky in the past 20 years that has set the world on fire! I’m a season ticket holder so I have a voice. I drive 3 hours to every game. I had missed 3 in 13 years and look we are who we are. Stoops has gotten us great facilities, better players. I know we haven’t seen the wins like we want (I really feel next year is a great year for our standards). And PERSONALLY I’d rather eat a turd than have petrino coach my team. And who said he woulda came if we had offered in the first place???? Geeez! So sick of getting on here after work to relax and read about sports to hear people talk about a jerk who hates us in the first place

    • The REAL Billy Hill
      8:36 pm October 4, 2016 Permalink

      Oh, we all know he’s this site’s biggest troll…. Its funny when he uses “we” and “us” when referring to UK. 😉

    • east-ky-boy
      8:42 pm October 4, 2016 Permalink

      Glad I am not alone. lol

    • Chesters Daddy
      8:48 pm October 4, 2016 Permalink

      That’s our problem other schools in Sec he would have already been gone,we accept losing and people like you saying one more year is why the next coach we will get will struggle. The next coach will be starting behind the 8 ball because we let previous coach stay a year to long. We are the laughing stock of the SEC and I’m sick of it.

    • Chesters Daddy
      8:52 pm October 4, 2016 Permalink

      East ky I’m not being a prick thank you for buying tickets but I’m just tired of not having a horse in the race when it comes to college football. Stoops is not a coach he’s a coordinator.

    • east-ky-boy
      8:54 pm October 4, 2016 Permalink

      People like me? I am flat sick of loosing! I’m just as annoyed as anyone. My point was I don’t want
      Petrino. Everyone has a opinion. Mine is I can’t stand the man. There are coaches on my
      Personal wish list that I wish we would go after

    • cats paw
      8:55 pm October 4, 2016 Permalink

      chesters daddy is hands down the smartest person this site. if only the rest of the homers would think like him this fanbase would be okay

    • The REAL Billy Hill
      8:56 pm October 4, 2016 Permalink

      Anybody else getting tired of hearing Darryl’s dumb ass? First the calling in, now the damn site.

    • east-ky-boy
      8:58 pm October 4, 2016 Permalink

      So cats paw is Daryl? Makes sense now. lol

    • Chesters Daddy
      9:04 pm October 4, 2016 Permalink

      No East ky I don’t like cats either but Billy hill just follows me around stalking my post being a prick don’t guess he has anything else to do or jealous one,but I do appreciate your su0ort East for the cats football, I just hate hearing 1 more year, tired of not having a horse in the race in college football……..By the way Billy will ask you to explain what I just said he’s to stupid to get the point

    • The REAL Billy Hill
      9:53 pm October 4, 2016 Permalink

      Can someone translate? I don’t speak redneck.

    • ukkatzfan
      10:33 pm October 4, 2016 Permalink

      @Chesters daddy. Saban didn’t sound like he was laughing at us after last week. Him and his players sounded like they respect our play. So I would like to know where you get this “laughing stock of the SEC”. Our underclassmen will be one year older next year and Gran will have 3-4 qb’s next year. I personally hope Stoops is here long after Cal is gone.

    • Chesters Daddy
      10:53 pm October 4, 2016 Permalink

      Katz of course saban wasn’t gonna say we suck ,would you if you knew tour friend was close to the hot seat. Every other school would have done fired him, but at UK we don’t expect much so why not save the money. Are you not tired of not having a horse in the race. Stoops has way more talent then the other 2 schools in the state but not even close to where they are as a program. I love UK more than anyone especially basketball but to set and say we rushed the ball really well and only had 72 rushing yards is a joke. No way if my kid was a elite recruit would I let him come anywhere near UK after seeing what he does with elite players. He can’t put them in position to improve, win, or succeed and that’s sad.

    • The REAL Billy Hill
      11:04 pm October 4, 2016 Permalink

      “a year to long”
      “he’s to stupid”
      “would have done fired him”
      “you not tired of not”
      “way more talent then”
      “but to set and say”
      “there not stupid”

      Some real gems here, folks….


    • Chesters Daddy
      11:17 pm October 4, 2016 Permalink

      Told you dumb ace Billy hill would ask you to translate that’s all he does is stalk my post and ask people to translate, talking bout repeat. I’m not writing a article it’s a damn comment I’m not going to go proof read every comment so your dumb ace can understand. I guarantee I got more college than you I’m just not gonna go proof read every comment # jealousy

    • The REAL Billy Hill
      11:21 pm October 4, 2016 Permalink

      Wait, let me guess: Trump University LLC?

  10. cats paw
    8:44 pm October 4, 2016 Permalink

    ksr is too scared to ban me because i am usually 100% right in my predictions!!! i own these homers lmao!!

    • Chesters Daddy
      8:50 pm October 4, 2016 Permalink

      No because it would be a waste of time because your dumbass would just make another account.

    • CATandMONKEY
      8:57 pm October 4, 2016 Permalink

      Don’t kid yourself. Your posts , clicks and responses bring KSR $$$
      That is the only way you get anyone to tolerate your pablum.

      However, you have cracked me up several times. You should really restrict your work to that medium.

  11. CopenhagenCat
    8:49 pm October 4, 2016 Permalink

    I get so tired of UK fans saying give him more time. How much damn time do you need? Say they did go to a bowl would you really be happy as UK fan by them beating a bunch of weak teams? When your up 35-10 on a team at half and then lose. That is coaching.quit making excuses for the man. If they let him go he will find another job somewhere and have plenty of money for losing games. UK needs to pay the money and get a guy that has been a head coach and has won and know what it takes to win. The fans deserve it.Keep Stoops around and fans will just quit coming.

  12. Chesters Daddy
    9:10 pm October 4, 2016 Permalink

    Yep they will lose money in tickets, and merchandising wait and see and big time recruits are already publicly turning us down I promise if he is here next year we won’t be getting 4&5star recruits there not stupid they see what he does with talent.

  13. John
    9:55 pm October 4, 2016 Permalink

    After hearing that Mr. KSR enjoyed doing play-by-play for Louisville losing their game to Clemson really shows that Mr KSR is a POS. I wonder if Mr. Suntan will do play-by-play of UK losing to Vandy. Kensucky Foosbaall.

    • The REAL Billy Hill
      10:01 pm October 4, 2016 Permalink

      Thanks for sweating us.

      Meanwhile, not one person knows whats going on with UL media because not a single person gives a shit, not even your fans, and the ratings for CAPTAIN Suntan prove that.


  14. Kyblue34
    10:04 pm October 4, 2016 Permalink

    This is getting ridiculous! How many more games is Stoops going to get? It’s like losing a game to your buddy, and then keep saying best two out of three, four out of seven, and so forth. At some point, you have to stop and say: you’re just not good enough. Stoops and Eliot have had more than enough opportunity to show that they’re good enough, and they haven’t at all. The make or break game was Southern Miss, and they failed miserably. Stoops should be gone regardless of what happens against Vandy or any of the remaining teams we play.

  15. Sunshinesbright
    10:11 pm October 4, 2016 Permalink

    Guys, how ’bout that $300 million stadium and training center!? Eh? Recruits will really flock to facilities when the staff and program is a train wreck.

  16. YAF
    6:48 am October 5, 2016 Permalink

    Should have hired Petrino when KY had the chance! And that’s all folks!

  17. BluKudzu
    9:38 am October 5, 2016 Permalink

    Lmfao on the comment section. I can’t tell if it is bored Waffle House waitresses or lonely 13 year old girls trying to verbally bitch slap one another.

    The problem is not Stoops. The problem is the guy that hired him. That contract, vs performance, further makes it appear UK has no clue, nor no chance to ever have a solid football program.

    We may as well give him more time. He has done so well thus far. Millionaire coach recruiting against Western. It is no longer about Louisville, folks. That ship has sailed. Now we hope to be better than Western. Never thought I would l see the day.

    • The REAL Billy Hill
      10:03 am October 5, 2016 Permalink

      You have to agree though that the program as a whole is better than before Stoops arrived, no?